A professor of innovation at the University of Navarra (Spain) and founding partner of an innovation consultancy, María Beunza Mijimolle is passionate about empowering people. She realised that it is difficult for young people, especially women, to embark in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) careers and for SMEs to embrace innovation without successful examples. Strong of her experience as a certified coach for Horizon 2020 SME Instrument beneficiaries and working closely with the Enterprise Europe Network, she decided to lead change. On International Women's Day, she presents her project Innovactoras (Actors of Innovation).
What's the idea behind Innovactoras?
We want companies, institutions and educational centres to have inspiring and current examples of people in STEAM careers, to encourage innovation in their environments, in particular with young people. Neither Marie Curie nor Albert Einstein are here to explain how to innovate today. We need to hear from the people who are innovating now, in the same context as us. Our motto is: the words convince and the example mobilises.
How does it work in practice?
The aim to make real innovators visible and accessible to a wider audience. We interview women innovators and present their stories in accessible communication formats. We have a website, videos and an e-book in Spanish (which can be downloaded for free).
We are already working with schools: students made the illustrations for our website and worked around the theme of women in innovation. The schools are using our resources to teach entrepreneurship, innovation and STEAM and the Innovactoras come to schools and tell the students about their companies and their skills. For us, this is already an important result.